Sunday, June 24, 2012

water balloon dart painting!


My favorite photo from this experience is above...a balloon popped as I was taking this picture - it was purely unintentional!!!

I spent New Year's 2002 in Houston, travelling by minivan with my Mom, sister, and my sister's two kids. That week, and pretty much the entire road trip home, we watched The Princess Diaries - over and over and over, something like nineteen times. Halfway through the road trip back to Indiana, it just became a game of knowing all the dialogue. And then seven-year-old Katie and I loved this scene:



It was sometime way back then, that I told her we would make a balloon dart painting, too...at her high school graduation party. So we did.

We practiced the weekend before, thinking you could just put pour acrylic paint into water balloons and then tie them and be ready. It isn't that easy, the paint just thickly drips out and fills the balloon without stretching at all. After failing multiple times and turning parts of her yard blue with paint, Katie found a blog that mentioned using a pressurized bottle and watering down the paint. I wish I could find this blog, because I want to credit it - that advice was so helpful! We went out and bought six Ice Mountain water bottles with sport caps, and then I diluted the paint to about 50% paint, 50% water.



On the day of the event, we made sure all the balloons were stretched. She poured paint, then I tied balloons. We made the balloons small, about 2-3 inches, and mostly full of paint. It was a great system! The process of setting up was so, so messy. Paint was everywhere! I would definitely advise that all balloon filling should take place outside, unless you're some kind of expert balloon tier. Some of the balloons were just a little too full and splattered all over me! It was comedic at that point.



I brought string to tie to each knot, then individually duct taped each string to the back of the canvas, so the string hung over the top. Then, whenever a balloon would pop, we could just pull the string to the back, to minimize mess and the risk that balloon pieces would dry on the canvas in the sun.



The backyard setup was simple. We folded a piece of burlap over the fence, taping it around the fence loops with more duct tape, because it was windy outside. We put two paper ream boxes on the ground, and covered them with plastic tablecloths from the dollar store, which made excellent tarps. The canvas sat on top of the boxes, but It was also duct taped around the fence loops from behind, so the wind wouldn't move it.



The day of Katie's party was warm. Ninety-three degrees. What I learned while I was still setting up is that a water balloon resting on a black canvas surface in the hot sun will pop all on its own. No darts necessary!



Many of the balloons stayed intact in time for her friends to arrive. They had a great time throwing darts and watching the colors flow! We used a pack of three cheap metal darts. We also coiled neon chenille stems around the bases, because otherwise, we may have lost them in the grass.







The finished product turned out awesome. We were so happy with it! It's going to make an incredible addition to Katie's dorm room this fall!

19 comments:

Home Excellence Seminar said...

Thank you so much for this article. It's very informative. I'm doing this on Saturday with a youth club so all the information you gave will come in real handy! THANKS! ;)

Katelyn Rene said...

Would you mind emailing me some details about your project? I'm wondering what sort of canvas you had? How exactly did you fill the balloons? I have tried, but it hasn't worked super well. What kind of paint did you use? How much did it cost?
-Katie
ktsnldsqt@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

What kind of paint do i have to use?

julie said...

I used regular 2 oz. acrylic paints - cheaper brands work well because they are already less thick. From that point, I watered them down with about equal parts paint and water.

I used a pre-stretched canvas from Michael's.

I filled the balloons using water bottles with a sport cap. This part is so important! The pressure you can use with a sport cap concentrates the stream so the balloon expands. If you just try to pour the paint in, the balloon won't stretch. They didn't fill very large - maybe 2 inches around at the largest.
And it was m-e-s-s-y - definitely an outdoor, two person, wear-something-you-don't-mind-getting paint-on job to fill and tie the balloons.

The cost depends on the size of canvas you buy. I always use 40% coupons from Michael's, so that helped. On this project, I bought darts for about $3.00, paint for about $10.00 once I had all the colors I liked, balloons for maybe $2.00, and then the canvas - which may have been $15.00 or $20.00. The tarps are plastic tablecloths from the dollar store. We bought burlap to protect the fence and to keep the darts from flying through. I already had the string.

The end result is worth all of the set-up effort. I hope you try it again!

~Julie

Anonymous said...

Did you buy all of your equipment at Michael's?

Julie said...

No, I bought the darts at Meijer. I did buy the canvas and paint at Michael's, and maybe the balloons, too...but I think they don't sell balloons year-round...I probably bought them in the party supply section at Target.

Hitch and Thread said...

I love how it's turned out and that her friends helped make the art. Did you purchase the canvas as a black one? Or did you prime a white one with black paint? I'm going to do this with my kids once the weather warms up so all your information has been really helpful.

julie said...

It was a white canvas, primed with Liquitex black gesso. Have a great time!!!

Eric Nako said...

This is so cool! I actually wanted to share my own experience with this - I love the idea about the water bottles to pressurize the balloons because I think it's better than mine.

I ended up using a medical syringe to "inject" the paint inside the inflated balloon from the stem. I did a post on my blog as well!: http://ericnakasako.com/2012/02/water-balloons-paint-darts-art/

Let me know what you think and great minds think alike! :)

colleen said...

I'm having a carnival party for my 8 year old. I want to have a bullseye target that they throw the ballons at and splatter. I need very thin flimsy balloons that will break and not just bounce off... any suggestions?

Anonymous said...

What size canvas did you use?

lori said...

I'm going do this week. At are
youth Arts at the Water with all ages.Thank you for the useful info.

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Anonymous said...

What paint colors did you choose?

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